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The Shadow Robot Company
With over 23 years of expertise in the field, this robotics company is well poised to expand their technology, with the support of KTN and Innovate UK.
Introduction

The Shadow Robot Company is one of Britain’s longest-running robot company, having been around for 23 years and are experts at grasping and manipulation for robotic hands. They are recent winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2019 under Innovation.

 

Shadow Robot developed the Dexterous Hand, the world’s most advanced human-like robot hand available on the market. It has recently been used to advance research into AI, having won the AIconics Award for best innovation in AI hardware 2019. For manufacturing needs, they develop and sell the Modular Grasper, an essential tool for supporting industry 4.0.

 

The company has also developed Tactile Telerobot, the world’s first haptic telerobot hand, where the Shadow Hand is combined with tactile fingertip sensors and controlled via a haptic glove for touch feedback which can be relayed over 5,000 miles away. Shadow’s technology is designed to take human operators out of harmful situations – such as nuclear decommissioning and bomb disposal.

 

Currently, the company is working on telepresence and teleoperation systems, with a selection of corporates and commercial interests.

How did KTN help?

KTN has helped in a myriad of ways. In March 2019, Shadow Robot were invited to be a part of the UK mission to USA. This was a KTN led mission, on behalf of Innovate UK, for the purpose of exchanging robotic capabilities and knowledge of RAI in extreme environments between the two countries, while identifying areas for collaboration. Dr. Radhika Gudipati, Business Development Manager at Shadow Robots, says, “It was a good platform to make connections with peers from both the UK and the US and to participate in workshops together, presenting our capabilities at the RAIN and Space hubs, to name a few.”

 

Most important has been the relationship with Marie Emerson, KTM for Robotics. Marie invited Shadow Robot to be a part of the USA mission, keeps the company in the loop with any events and opportunities that might be of interest and also invites Shadow Robot to take part in various related workshops and events.

 

When looking to expand their client base into Pharmaceuticals and Oil & Gas, the team at KTN helped connect Shadow Robots to Gsk and Pfizer. There has been some engagement from this to understand the future needs of the businesses and pairing that with the expertise offered by Shadow Robot in clean rooms and other lab solutions.

 

Involvement with the Robotics and AI special interest group has led to a number of networking opportunities for knowledge exchange and business partnerships. The highlight of this was the Robotics and AI Industry Showcase 2019. Another useful exercise has been the Innovation Canvas, a KTN designed tool that aids companies in identifying a framework for their processes and products. While similar exercises have been done in the past, Shadow Robot utilised the Innovation Canvas at a senior management level to identify the markets worth exploring, pinpoint key challenges and focus on solutions to these challenges.

 

The Innovate UK initiative, Women in Innovation, also run by the KTN, has been a source of great inspiration for Radhika. The webinars are easy to access and according to her, “keeps me motivated to see women making a difference, which in turn has pushed me from my comfort zone.”

"Shadow Robot have utilised the range of KTN tools and expertise on offer to our benefit. The close relationship with Marie has helped us with accessing support and tools required to take our innovations to new levels."

Dr. Radhika Gudipati, Business Development Manager at Shadow Robot
Outcomes:
  • Identification of several new markets for both lateral and horizontal expansion.
  • The Innovation Canvas has led to internal road mapping for their 5-year strategy and next steps.
  •  As part of the UK cohort on KTN’s Robotics and AI in Extreme Environments Global Expert Mission to USA, shadow Robot identified several key clients both in the UK and the US.